That comfort comes with a hefty price tag, is one of the most common sentiments that Australian households share.
Such sentiment rings especially true during the summer, and winter seasons when indoor temperatures become difficult to control. It is during these times when households rely heavily on their electrical appliances to bring in, and sustain the thermal comfort they need throughout the given season. This is the primary reason for unnecessary high electric bills!
In 2013, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that the average Australian household spends $99 per week on energy. This is typically split between $39 for electricity or gas and $60 for petrol.
And this is where the silver lining comes in. With the incoming innovations in the energy efficiency industry; bolstered by the efforts of discerning consumers and environmental sustainability advocates. There is a nine-step solution that helps you “wipe out electricity and gas bills” that is now within your reach.
Beyond Zero Emissions Inc., (a non-profit research, and education organisation working to design, and implement a zero emissions economy for Australia) published a detailed guide book titled: The Energy-Freedom Home to assist homeowners, renovators, and builders in building energy efficient homes.
Published in 2015, the book explains nine steps that can be taken to become more energy efficient: replace old lights, stop draughts, improve insulation, upgrade windows, energy-efficient appliances, reverse-cycle systems, solar or heat-pump systems to heat your water, monitor and control your energy use, and to switch to solar.
The Energy-Freedom Home also contains, easy-to-follow descriptions of practical problems with their respective solutions. It largely empowers homeowners to be smart with their money and be more conscious in using energy sources in their homes. The guidebook’s goal is to make homeowners eventually become autonomous from electricity and gas companies for their household energy needs.
Richard Keech, author of the Energy-Freedom Home guidebook, and senior assessor for ecoMaster had taken the journey to energy freedom himself in 2007.
Mr. Keech’s turning point was also triggered by mounting electricity, and gas bills which in 2006 totalled $1,875. According to his calculations, if his household consumed the same amount of energy in 2013, his bills would have reached an incredible $3,421!
Taking matters into his own hands, Richard decided to invest in home energy efficiency through the following steps: Completely disconnecting from the mains gas and offsetting the remaining energy consumption with solar panels. In the years that followed, he spent about $43,000 to retrofit his home including ecoMaster draught proofing, ecoGlaze secondary glazing, LED lights, induction cooktop, standby power reduction, reverse-cycle heating/cooling, and a hybrid solar/heat pump hot water system.
As he found out that his mains gas were problematic, he replaced his:
- Gas hot water with high efficient solar/electric water
- Gas heating with reverse-cycle split systems and
- Gas cooking with induction electric.
To meet the remaining one quarter of his home’s energy needs, 5-kilowatt solar panels were installed on his roof. To meet his household’s mains electric demand, he used low-emissions hydro power.
Richard’s home is now close to zero-energy emission. Mr. Keech shared:
“Today I’m completely free of the gas company, and future gas price hikes will not affect me. Aside from the satisfaction of making a positive step for action on climate change, the money I’ve spent is a productive investment giving me an effective rate of return, in avoided energy charges, of about 5% tax-free.
Richard, working hand in hand with Beyond Zero Inc., aims to share this knowledge to the greater Australian population, targeting at least 50% of Australian households looking to renovate their homes to achieve an energy-bill free home and saving on average $2,400 a year.
Energy freedom is not only about being green. It is about being smart with money, comfortable in your home, and autonomous from companies for your household energy.
To find out more about the solutions Richard used, go to www.ecoMasterStore.com.au